Chinese court jails scientist for editing babies’ genes, Latest World News - The New Paper

Chinese court jails scientist for editing babies’ genes

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BEIJING : A Chinese court sentenced the scientist who created the world's first "gene-edited" babies to three years in prison yesterday, according to the official Xinhua news agency, for illegally practising medicine.

He Jiankui, then an associate professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, said last year that he had used gene-editing technology to change the genes of twins to protect them from getting infected with HIV.

He and his collaborators forged ethical review materials and recruited men with Aids. His experiments resulted in two women giving birth to three gene-edited babies, according to Xinhua. The court also handed lesser sentences to Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou.

"The three accused did not have the proper certification to practise medicine, and in seeking fame and wealth, deliberately violated national regulations in scientific research and medical treatment," the court said, according to Xinhua.

China also yesterday jailed the leader of an unofficial church for nine years for "incitement to subvert state power".

Pastor Wang Yi, whose Early Rain Covenant Church was the target of a government crackdown last year, was also found guilty of "illegal business operation" in Chengdu, according to an official court website.

Christians in China are split between unofficial churches and state-sanctioned ones, where Communist Party songs feature in the service.- REUTERS, AFP